I was reading an article recently about ways to make additional income on the side, and one of the ways listed as start a blog. I previously wrote about freelance writing being considered a side hustle as well, and I think it's a bit disingenous to tell people that starting a blog is a good side hustle. It can take a long time to build up readers and start earning money from blogging. So for those people who need extra money now, blogging isn't going to help.
If someone is looking to invest time and energy for something that will pay off in the long run then, by all means, a blog can be considered a way to do that. But many of these articles I've read that including blogging aren't taking into consideration that many of the people looking for side jobs need that extra paycheck sooner rather than later. And blogging is a long-term committment. One post a month isn't going to work if you're trying to build an audience.
I have readers that faithfully come to this blog even though I only update once or twice a month. That's because they know my schedule, but that's taken years. Ask any writer, and they'll tell you that when they first started writing their blogs, all they heard were crickets.
So if you're one of those people who needs to make money on the side, there are plenty of ways to do it that will get you the money a lot faster than trying to build an audience with a blog. Not trying to be a negative Nancy here, just realistic. Blogging is great; it really is. I love to jot a post when I have the time, but I also know that it does take time and dedication, and if someone is already working hard to make ends meet, they may not have the energy or inclination to share their thoughts or energy with the world.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some successful bloggers do consider it a side hustle that has worked for them. I know there are plenty of bloggers who started off part-time and are now working their blog full-time. In that aspect, you have to start somewhere. Just don't expect to rocket out of the gate with 1,000 readers and advertisers begging to work with you. Realism is the key!
Every now and then, it's good to freshen things up, and that's what I'm starting to do with some of my older books. Last Showing, which released in 2016, is getting a new cover. It's in line to be uploaded now! What do you think?
This has never happened to me before, but I was going through Google Docs yesterday and saw a title I didn't recognize. I pulled it up and began to read through it then it started to come back to me. I had written this book many years ago, so many years ago that some of the details are obsolete. But it was complete at almost 70,000 words!
I'm assuming I put the book aside once I finished it (as I always do) to give myself a break from it. Then I come back later to begin rewrites. I didn't do it in this instance which is puzzling. But I now have another complete book to rewrite/rework. I don't know if it's one I'll start working on anytime soon, but it was definitely a surprise to unearth 70,000 words of writing that occurred, probably ten years ago!
I'm working on a different kind of story. The tagline is Dexter meets The Golden Girls. In sensible shoes and pearls, these women are carrying out their own brand of vigilante justice. I'm halfway through the first book in what will probably be a series, and here is an excerpt.
Today wasn’t her day to kill, but Marge Hardy couldn’t say no to a friend. Bess Majors hadn’t missed one day doing her civic duty until she’d been struck down by the horrible strain of flu that had hit their hometown of Fairview, North Carolina. It had even caused the poor dear to miss Bridge Night, and everyone in the neighborhood knew how much Bess loved bridge.
With a sigh that was both resigned and reluctant, Marge put aside her knitting, shuffled down the hall to her bedroom, and stepped out of her slippers. She changed her clothes—one must always greet a guest with the proper attire—and patted her hair into place. Then with a pinch of her cheeks, she left her bedroom.
Halfway down the hallway, she realized she’d forgotten her pearls. “Oh for the love of Pete, Marge, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached.” She retraced her steps to gather the long strand of pearls her late husband, Felix, had gotten her for their last Christmas together. A tear sprang to her eye at the thought, but she quickly chastised herself. Now certainly wasn’t the time to be thinking about love and romance.
Humming below her breath, Marge fastened the pearls around her neck and checked her image in the hall mirror. “Not bad for an old gal.” She winked at her reflection and made it to the living room just as the doorbell rang.
Oh, good. That would be Mr. Livingston now. Perhaps she’d still have time to catch Lives Unfulfilled. The soap was her one guilty pleasure of the day, and her two favorite characters had spent the last few months in a tumultuous relationship that just might get resolved today as long as her appointment cooperated.
She just hoped the geezer would drink his coffee quickly and be on his way. She hated laggers, but more so today with it closing in on three o’clock. Missing the first few minutes of her story would simply ruin today’s viewing. Usually, a show picked up right where the cliffhanger had left off, and she’d no doubt today’s episode was going to be a doozie.
As much as she’d been encouraged to get a DVR, she should have listened by now, but since she spent most of her time at home, she didn’t think it was worth the investment. For times like these, though, one definitely would come in handy.
With a smile on her face, she swept open the door and greeted Ben Livingston warmly, beckoning him into her two-bedroom home with its “Welcome” sign over the foyer table.
“Ben, it’s so good to see you again. Bess told me you’d be stopping by. I’ve just put on a fresh pot of coffee. Come on in and make yourself comfortable. Do you take sugar or cream with yours?”
She barely heard his response as she hurried into the kitchen. Was he a talker? She hadn’t thought to ask Bess. Quite frankly, she didn’t know much about Ben except what she and the girls had learned from their former handler.
A trafficker in women and drugs, he’d topped the FBI’s most wanted list for decades but had managed to elude capture. He’d finally been arrested, but his slimy attorney had managed to get him acquitted when the evidence had magically disappeared. Livingston had sauntered out of the courtroom with a smile on his face and had gone back to his old ways, even having the audacity to move into the Mountain Reserve Retirement community under an assumed name. And had sealed his fate.
Though technically retired, she and her three colleagues, that she now considered friends, worked now more than they ever did. None of them would sleep a wink, though, if they allowed a threat to society like Ben Livingston to go unpunished. And it had been up to Bess to carry out his termination…until today.
“Stupid flu,” Marge muttered, banging cabinet doors as she searched for the creamer. Now where on earth had she put that stuff? When had she used it last?
She snapped her fingers. “Oh, yes. Mr. Shelt.” He’d been her last visitor, expiring several hours after leaving her home, but not before he’d used up all of her coffee creamer. Apparently, he’d preferred the cream over the taste of coffee which had forced her to buy another container which she hadn’t yet put away.
Ben said something to her, but she didn’t really listen. There wasn’t much he could say that would interest her, and once he drank his coffee, she’d shoo him out the door. Marge always found a good dose of rudeness tended to send visitors on their way, and she was always rude to criminals who made a mockery of the justice system.
She touched a hand to her deceased sister’s picture, held against the refrigerator by matching pink magnets. Dear Carolyn’s life had ended early at the hands of a drug dealer who’d mistaken her for one of his customers. He’d served fifteen years in the state penitentiary, not nearly enough in Marge’s opinion. Fortunately for him, she’d been on assignment when he was released from prison, or she might have been tempted to carry out her own brand of justice.
“Time to stop wool-gathering, Marge.” The admonishment sent her into a frenzy of activity. She finished adding the extra ‘spice’ to Ben’s coffee and returned the tiny vial to its safe place in the far corner of the cabinet.
Then squaring her shoulders, she lifted the two mugs of coffee and carried them to the dining room table. The clock was ticking, and she simply had to see if Claudia was going to accept Brock’s marriage proposal.
I've been a writer for a long time, a published author for over twenty years. Along the way, I met a wonderful woman who helped me learn to promote my books, market myself, and be a better author and friend. An author herself, she has accomplished so much in her career, but she has never forgotten that once upon a time, she was a struggling writer.
Many of you know this author, and if you don't, you should because Lisa Renee Jones is one of my favorite people and one heck of a writer. She's funny, smart, talented, driven, and an absolutely incredible person.
She's a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, and one of her series, The Secret Life of Amy Bensen is now a series on Passionflix. And even with all her successes, Lisa is one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. And I share all of this with you today because every writer should have a Lisa in their lives. I'm just lucky enough to have found mine early in my career. Here's hoping you find yours!
I'm constantly on my laptop so it's no surprise that I go through them fairly quickly. Though I could pay to get them fixed and try to keep using them, I'm too paranoid that something will go wrong with them while I'm in the midst of writing. Not that I don't have everyting backed up. I have back-ups for my backup, but when it comes to laptops, you could be right in the middle of something, and poof! The computer goes off, and you've lost what hasn't yet backed up. That's a horrifying thought to me, and it has happened.
So when my laptop starts to give me problems, which is usually 18-24 months after I purchased it, I begin the search for another one, and I'm extremely picky. It can't just be any laptop. I have to have a backlit keyboard, a touch screen, and a number of other things that I could probably live without but now that I've had them, I don't want to.
I usually like to buy my laptops in person, although, I have bought them online. I prefer to be able to see the model and feel the keys. Best Buy always has a plethora to choose from, which means I spend at least an hour in the store trying out keyboards. Sure, I get funny looks from the sales associates as well as a constant stream of offers to help, but I keep to myself and move along with my phone out to take a picture of the top contenders.
I never buy on the first visit to the store because I have to go home, compare all the ones I like, and see which one edges out the others. And each time I buy, what I need changes, like RAM and speed, etc. So there's some research involved to find the fastest, most reliable computer with everything I need and want.
As a writer, buying a laptop is a lot like buying a car would be for a mechanic. I'm assuming they'd want to know everything about that car. I'm the exact same way when it comes to laptops. I read reviews, both good and bad, and I even look at the reviews on past models to see if the manufacturer is improving its offerings.
This isn't a short process for me, which is why I always dread it when the time comes around. This takes time away from my writing, but it's an investment I want to make last as long as possible to lessen my chances of having to do it again soon. To say I'm particular about the computer I buy is much too tame. But being happy with my laptop, to me, makes me a better writer. No, it doesn't write the words for me, but, if I'm comfortable with the keyboard and the screen, and the computer is fast enough, I can write at a fast clip.
And this process is about to begin. I figure I can put it off for a month, maybe a little longer. Then the ordeal begins. Ah, but once it's over, and I set up my new computer, I'm like a kid with a new toy. And life is good again...at least for 18-24 months.
In an article on Bankrate, freelance writing was suggested as one of ten side hustles. To me, side hustles are things anyone can do to make quick mone, although Merriam-Webster defines it as "work performed for income supplementary to one's primary job." That's not necessarily saying it has to be quick, but most people who are looking for extra income do want it sooner rather than later. That's not what comes to mind for me when it comes to freelance writing
Practically anyone can learn the technicalties of writing. They can learn what works and what doesn't, but that can take quite a bit of time. And if you're starting from scratch, it's going to take a lot longer to build freelance writing into a side hustle than it would being a shopper or working with a food delivery service.
It has taken most of us writers years to get to the point where we're making income, and even then, many writers don't make that much money a month, especially not enough that it could be considered a hustle.
Freelance writing is hard work, and it involves more than writing. You have to learn the process if you're not a writer at first. Then you to learn how to find publishers looking for what you're interested in writing. You have to learn how to craft a query letter, how to submit a pitch, and how to make a topic an easy read for the market.
Overall, I would never consider freelance writing a side hustle. It can be a part-time or full-time job, but iyou're not going to make a lot of money fast from it, and you're going to have to invest your own money to learn and to grow as well as to market your own work. So if you're looking to make quick money, you won't find it by freelance writing.
When I started this year, I had intended to self-publish at least three of my books. That all changed when I realized needed things done in my house, and I had some other unexpected expenditures crop up as well. That caused me to shift my direction to writing more articles, short stories, and essays.
Getting payment from those avenues is generally quicker than payment from book royalties. There's no guarantee of book sales, but if you write iand sell an article, you should, unless something changes drastically, get paid with a decent amount of time. Of course, sometimes, you have to wait to hear back from the magazine so it can be a bit of a wait. That's why I submit a minimum of four articles, short stories, or essays a month. So I always have something in the pipeline.
If you're an author and you're feeling a little discouraged about your book sales at present, perhaps it's time to change course. Getting paid from any writing, even if it's $50, can be a boost to your self-confidence. So if you're struggling as an author write now, consider using the skills and talent you have elsewhere. Put it to good use writing articles, entering free writing contests, and writing short stories and flash fiction, and essays. Trust me. One sale can change your perspective.
After the first of the year, I'm releasing a 1950s novella, Letters to Laura. This was originally entitled Promises to Laura, and I released it under a pen name back in 2014. By the time I'm finished with it, it will have been completely rewritten and expanded so I changed the title. If you read Promises to Laura, this is altogether a different book with only the same premise.
I decided Promises to Laura was too short and ended too abruptly. Plus, my writing has changed since 2014 so I wanted to improve upon this novella which I still love. I'll choose a release date soon, but the cover is all ready. Please let me know what you think!
This is the first scene in my new YA Fantasy novel, Holding Forgotten Stars. Thanks for reading!
I’m not cut out to live a life of mediocrity, but that’s what people live here in Northrock, South Carolina. Population 692. And like most things, it rarely changes. It seems as soon as a baby is born, someone dies. No one ever leaves, either. Everyone has just settled here because they’re stuck. The fifty-foot fence surrounding our town keeps us all caged inside. And, to my knowledge, no one has ever tried to find a way out.
But I will. In less than two years, I’ll graduate from high school, and that’s when my life will really start. I know it’ll break my parents’ heart, but I want to see the world. Maybe I’ll drive to Yellowstone and take hundreds of pictures, take a bus to San Francisco and hop on one of those trolleys, and go hiking in the Yosemite and see the Giant Sequoias.
Right now, these are just places I’d read about in our history books and in our one school’s encyclopedia. But they looked magical, and the day I get my high school diploma, I’m taking off. Provided, of course, I can make enough money at my job to buy a car. I don’t earn a lot at Icy Dream, but Dad promised he’d match whatever I made at the ice cream shop so that I could buy a car before my senior year. He doesn’t know I’ll be using it to leave, though.
That’s the plan anyway, but not one person in Northrock has ever seen the fence open. Supposedly, it’s meant to protect us. From what, I don’t know, but I can’t imagine anything beyond it that’s worse than being trapped like an animal.
Before I make my big getaway, I’m going to test the waters, see if anyone is willing to help me find a way out of Northrock. It’s not a plan my parents are going to go for. I know that already, but at least it’ll get us talking about the fence and how someone can leave if they want to. We’ve never talked about that. I don’t think anyone has. It’s just assumed that we’ll all stay here and live happily ever after.
“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” Sammie has been my best friend since the first grade. We never go a day without seeing one another even if we’ve had a fight.
She tugs one of my brown curls and plops next to me on the edge of the creek, dangling her long, pale legs deep into the water. She kicks them back and forth while waiting for my reply.
But I really don’t need to answer her. She already knows. Sammie’s the only one who knows how badly I want to leave Northrock. And while she tries to understand, she just doesn’t. She’s happy here with her boyfriend, Evan, and her parents and sister. All she wants to do is get married and have kids of her own. And she can do that living right here.
She sighs. “You gotta get your nose out of those encyclopedias.”
“I can’t, Sammie. The pictures are so beautiful I can almost reach out and touch those places. You know,” I scoot around so I can face her, drawing one leg up onto the grass, “in those national parks, they have pictures of the sky, and the stars look like diamonds on a black sheet. They’re so big, and I wonder if you could actually touch them.”
Sammie snorts. “Touch a star. You’re dancing outside reality as grandma says.”
I grin. Sammie’s grandmother always brings a smile to my face even if she isn’t present. She just has a way about her that makes everything seem okay. “Yeah, well, even Grammie Maggie probably wouldn’t mind catching a look at those stars. She spends a lot of time in her backyard looking up at the sky.”
“She misses Grampa.” Sammie pulls her feet up and shakes the water off them.
“What are you doing for your history project?”
“Mrs. Fielders just assigned it today.”
“I’m going to do mine on Theodore Roosevelt.”
My nose wrinkles. “Like that’s never been done before. I want to do something different. Maybe I’ll write about the history of one of the parks.”
“You and those parks.” She jumps to her feet and swipes the leaves off the back of her Jordache jeans. “We’d better get back. The festival starts in a couple of hours.”
Regretfully, I stand, but I don’t immediately turn around. The sun glints off the cool waters of the creek, and I wish I could stay put a little while longer.
Sammie hooks her arm through mine. “Let’s go. You’ve got ice cream to dip.”
I nudge her in the side with my elbow. “Not for two hours yet, and I can’t believe I have to work during the festival.”
“Only for the first hour, though, right? I want to ride the Ferris Wheel, and Evan’s too chicken.”
“Yeah, only for the first hour.”
Our tennis shoes scuffle against the dried leaves as we make our way through the woods and back onto the main road that leads into town. Not that there’s much to it, though.
We don’t have shopping malls or theaters here. It’s just a grocery store, some drive-thru restaurants, one steakhouse, a couple of diners, and a big discount store where everyone shops for school clothes. Nothing like what I’ve read about in other towns and cities across the world.
As we reach the asphalt, I look back over my shoulder at the trees now obscuring the creek. One day, I’m going to leave all of this behind for good. That’s a promise I make to myself every day.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!